The allure of social media, the irresistible force of marketing nirvana in 2009. Why have you forsaken so many with false promises of targeted customer acquisition, branding power, and revenue generation?
As Zachary Rodgers points out in his aptly named article on Clickz.com from 1/5/2009, Brands Struggled With Social Media in '08
, all is not rosy out there for brand and direct marketers mining this channel for gold.
To save the effort of a click, the Cliff Notes are that even though some very powerful brands have dropped very large sums of money into social marketing initiatives, the payback has been underwhelming to say the least.
How many success stories have you experienced advertising with Facebook, MySpace, and YouTube? How about colleagues in the industry? The tests we have run and the stories we hear from others often begin with "lots of impressions" and end with "terrible ROI." For the companies that actually are concerned about things such as ROAS, revenue impact and brand image, there are mounting concerns about the applicability of social media as an acquisition channel.
Is the concept of social media and commercial integration flawed? Perhaps, but we think that too many marketers are looking at social media as an acquisition marketing medium, an opportunity to reach vast and untapped market. Sure, Google would love you to spend money on their ads that pop-up under YouTube videos. Facebook wants badly for you to advertise your contextually relevant product or service on member pages. But, if you have spent any time on either property, you know just how annoying those YouTube ads have become and just how invisible those Facebook ads have always been.
Instead of trying to integrate your brand into established social media properties, we believe the real opportunities (and actual measurable results) lie in integrating social media technologies into your own infrastructure, a product marketing approach. Integrate YouTube based product showcases into your site and show real life customers in action. Create a product review comment section where customers can Tweet about their new purchase as they use it in real-time. Implement the ability for like minded customers to develop a Facebook groups based on your service offerings.
Implementing social media applications into your web experience will strengthen user experience, create greater brand immersion, and ultimately improve your conversion rates and viral penetration.